Monday, October 11, 2010

A Gathering of Crows, (Leisure Fiction), by Brian Keene

Brian Keene, whose work spans over twenty novels, thirteen collections, and four comic book series, has heavily influenced dark fiction since his career began. Ever since this two-time Stoker Award winner stepped on the scene, horror hasn’t been the same. And that’s a good thing. His latest novel, A Gathering Of Crows proves that the man still has his magic, and much more.

An ancient evil has descended upon the small West Virginia town of Brinkley Springs. One by one, the inhabitants realize that not only has the power gone out, but even their electronic gadgets—dependent on batteries—are dead as well. Even the natural sounds that accompany the night are gone. As well as the wind that carries their din. Once the screams start, and the gunfire begins, power and iPods are the least of the town’s worries.

Keene seamlessly takes us from person to person, and victim to victim, as those that serve an ancient deity begin to carry out Its orders: murder. Through break-neck, suspenseful pacing, we find people we truly care about. Trapped, they must rely on each other for safety as they scramble about the chaos seeking refuge.

Someone else has come to town, however. Someone Keene’s fans will remember from previous novels: ex-Amish magus, Mr. Levi Stoltzfus. Levi is a man of many skills, trades and magical disciplines. He's a faithful servant to The Lord, our God. As the body count climbs, Levi must mount a defense whilst uncover the nature of these beings, and more importantly, who they serve.

Battle lines are drawn, and people like Donny—a vet from the Iraq War—and Axel Perry, an old man who’s life is Brinkley Springs—refuse to stand idly by and watch their town be murdered. But when faced with that which is shadow, and its touch, death; will they stand by Levi and the few who support him? If they do, can Levi find the courage and magic within himself to face enemies that shadow his power?

A Gathering Of Crows is a well written, highly-imaginative, unique treat that, at some times becomes downright terrifying. Keene’s trademark voice and ability to give the reader realistic characters is at an all-time high. What truly makes this novel shine is how easily Keene combines these elements into a chill that tickles the imagination and reminds us: magic is real. And it exists in this book.

Visit Buy it today.

Reviewed by Ben Eads.

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